Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Jason in Hollywood returns to London - the whirlwind tour begins...

Or I should say, we're back and the whirlwind tour of the UK is now over. 

Apologies for the interruption to normal programming, let's crack right on with a fresh daily dose of Jason in Hollywood (or more accurately Jason in London).
Flying to London
After leaving our nine month old puppy Cooper with some very good friends (in our eyes), for his own little vacation, we headed to LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) to take our flight back to the UK.

This was our first trip back home after living in sunny California for the past ten months, so it was an odd sensation to be travelling back to London, after feeling like we'd finally started to acclimatise to our L.A. way of life.
United Airlines plane at Heathrow runway
We flew United Airlines, not the most glamorous way to travel, but we traded in some air miles to upgrade to Business Class which is a much nicer way to spend nine or so hours over the Atlantic.

With the champagne flowing we settled in for the flight. I took the opportunity to finally read Josh Grogan''Marley' book and ended up sobbing into my eye-mask. However I also discovered I'd bought the 'junior' edition of the book from Amazon aimed at 9-12 years (Marley: A dog like no other), rather than the adult version. 
Flying to London above the clouds
Not surprisingly it was a fairly easy going read, but still managed to bring a couple of tears to my eyes, especially being a Labrador owner myself now, and nothing whatsoever to do with the copious amounts of champagne I was quaffing.

Funnily enough even though we were flying Business rather than 'Cattle Class' (which is how I would normally travel), I still had to send my in-flight meal back as the chicken wasn't cooked properly. Luckily I had some cheese, port and more champagne to make up for it.
Bottle Shock movie billboard in Los AngelesAfter watching the every entertaining Alan Rickman in the movie Bottle Shock (a film about a blind taste contest between Californian and French wine, which seemed very appropriate flying home from America's West Coast), I settled in to get some sleep.
Flying over Cardiff the capital city of Wales
We had an evening flight so it seemed much easier to sleep on the plane than usual (normally I just enjoy the entertainment on board, rather than getting a wink of sleep), so when we arrived in the UK an hour ahead of time I felt strangely awake and refreshed.
Plane above the clouds of London
As per normal, even though we were early we still ended up circling over London for ages and aborting our landing to let another plane with a 'Mayday' go ahead of us (although quite frankly I'd prefer not to know about other planes in need of emergency landings), we eventually touched down at our scheduled time of 11.30am UK time.
Flight path to London on UK map
I was hoping that we would approach Heathrow Airport over London so I'd get a few snaps above the River Thames of some famous landmarks, but sadly we used another flight path and were down out of the clouds and on the ground in no time at all, without that many photo opportunities (although I did manage to capture Windsor Castle, home of HRH Queen Elizabeth II, from above).
Windsor Castle from above

Still there were still some interesting sights on Heathrow's runways - I hope this Virgin plane wasn't the one in need of an emergency landing (I think it's actually a fire training plane).Virgin Airlines training plane at Heathrow Airport

So we'd taken off in L.A. on Wednesday and now it was Thursday and the beginning of the day. We were staying with a friend, so we headed into Hammersmith in West London to meet him and drop our luggage at his flat.

It felt strange to be back on British soil, but not going 'home' to our West London pad in Chiswick, which used to be our sanctuary and so lovely to return to after a holiday or time away. Now it's rented out, so on this trip we were a bit like nomads travelling all over the UK.
British Airways planes at Heathrow Airport
After a nice cuppa, we popped out for a wander around the local area, wrapped up nice and warm against the chilly British elements. Luckily it was bright and sunny and not raining, but it was still damn cold in comparison to L.A.
United Airlines plane at Heathrow Airport
We'd planned a jam-packed itinerary for our trip home, but strangely enough we'd not mapped out what to do on the afternoon that we arrived (in case we had been jet-lagged and needed a power nap). 
New Westfield shopping centre in Shepherds Bush
So we decided to check out the super trendy new Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd's Bush (which they'd been building for many years and I can even remember a few years ago my route to work was closed due to an unexploded World War II bomb being discovered on the building site). There's a Westfield shopping centre in Century City here in L.A., so it felt odd to explore a new one in the UK.
Hammersmith Bridge over River Thames in London
It was very impressive, with lots of designer brands, a good selection of stores and dining options (and surprisingly stylish architecture and design for Shepherd's Bush). We weren't really in the shopping mood though, so after grabbing a bite to eat to keep us going, we headed back into Hammersmith whilst it was still light to take a walk along the River Thames
Jason at Hammersmith Bridge by the River Thames
I used to jog along the Thames from Chiswick Bridge down to Hammersmith Bridge and back, so I felt quite melancholy walking along the riverside pathway as the sun went down. 
Hammersmith River Thames sunset
We met back up with our friend in the evening and headed out to an old haunt of ours in Chiswick, Balans, for a meal and a glass of bubbly to catch up on the last few months of gossip and London life.
The sun sets over the River Thames in London
Then it was back to the sofa-bed for a much needed sleep...

1 comment:

The Boston Foodie said...

Awsome blog! I love it.

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